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European industries hit by drought

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - 01:40

Polish farmers have been hit hard by record high temperatures, with crops and animal breeders most at risk of losing business. Ciara Lee reports on the heatwave that's disrupting a number of industries across Eastern Europe.

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Record temperatures are pushing Polish farmers to the limit. Up to a million hectares of land could be affected following weeks of drought. Crops and animal breeders have been hardest hit and some areas could face crop losses of up to 50 percent. Last year agriculture provided 5.4 percent of the country's GDP and land used for farming make up over half of its territory. It's estimated the drought has also led to a 20 percent drop in milk production due to lack of feed and its poor quality. Seven Investment Management's Justin Urquhart Stewart. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, HEAD OF CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "Agriculture is a vital issue not just for Poland and Eastern Europe but also for the whole of the EU. And we're currently dealing with a problem at the moment because of various issues with regards to say Russia and the ban we've had on the trading there. So Poland particularly which is still primarily an agricultural nation, the impact here is very significant indeed." Romania has also been struggling with the prolonged dry-spell. Ships faced slow progress along the Danube after water levels dropped. Dozens of shipments were delayed and forced to queue up single file at Zimnicea port. And in Poland, the heatwave forced the country to sharply cut electricity supply to industry for the first time in over a decade. It's pushed some companies to limit production. The local unit of the world's largest steel maker ArcelorMittal halted some of its operations, describing the situation as 'very difficult' The heatwave and lack of rain also cut the amount of water needed to cool coal-fired power plants, from which Poland generates about 90 percent of its electricity.

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European industries hit by drought

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - 01:40